By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis
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Videographer / Director: Jack Stevens
Producer: Rebecca Lewis, Chloe Browne
Editor: Sonia Estal
Eighteen stunning girls from the former Soviet Union strutted down the catwalk in obligatory swimsuits and gowns by designer Elizabeth Emanuel - the designer behind Princess Diana’s wedding dress.
But instead of the renowned restraint the former Eastern bloc employed, bottles of Moet and Grey Goose vodka flowed and the audience were bedecked with designer clothes and glittering jewels.
The ceremony was compered by a dazzling Lizzy Cundy in a slinky red dress and Julian Bennett, while stars of the reality TV show Meet the Russians made champagne toasts while watching the competition.
Among the genetically blessed contestants was a student from the London School of Economics, a young mother and even an Olympian – who had appeared in a music video with One Direction’s Harry Styles.
But the glistening tiara was given to Anastasia Gavris, a 22-year-old from Lithuania.
She said: “I don’t think the competition is only about beauty, it’s about passion and about how beautiful you are on the inside.”
Contestants from Russia, Moldova, Ukraine and Estonia made it to the finals.
Backstage the contestants sought courage from rum and wine as they curled their hair and powdered their face to perfection.
Among the glitz and glamour were grueling schedules for the girls, who were required to stick to punishing working regimes and eat healthily.
Marija Sergeejva, 22 from Estonia, was one contestant looking forward to indulging after the competition.
The former Olympian skater represented her native country in 2010.
It wasn’t her last brush with fame as a chance meeting with heartthrob Harry Styles led to an appearance in the band’s music video – but she insisted their relationship with strictly professional.
Anna Tkacheva, a 25-year-old Russian who works in marketing, said: “Russian girls are really beautiful, they really take care of themselves.
“Nowadays a lot of Russians are buying beautiful houses trying to be glamorous, enjoying luxury cars but it’s a normal thing. In the Soviet Union a lot of people didn’t have it.
“We had really limited opportunities to have cars, beautiful houses and nowadays people just deserve it because they earn money.”